Thing I Do To Stay Sane: Remember To Take Myself Seriously


If you asked me what the hardest thing about being a writer is, my answer would be simple: taking myself seriously. No matter how much I’ve published or accomplished, I have almost always had a problem with seeing myself as a ‘real’ writer. In fact, I often feel the same now with a collection and two novels to my name that I did before I submitted my first poems to my high school lit mag. There’s always that lingering feeling that someday I’ll be a poet or an author, and that someday is always just around the corner.

So when would I consider myself ‘real’? When I’ve won more awards? When I’ve done a residency? When I publish more collections; a full series of installments? By judging my authenticity on goals alone I’ve set myself up for a slippery slope that leads to never truly accepting myself for what I dream of being.

This doesn’t just kill my personal motivation (why submit today when j can do it later, when I’m a real writer?). I end up slacking on my own deadlines and going weeks without submitting or updating my sites. I put off creating poem graphics or participating on writing sites because I feel insecure. I sell myself short when I talk to even the closest of my family and friends, afraid that I’ll lose face if I can’t present as a ‘real’ writer.

The only cure comes from taking myself seriously. Now, as I am in this moment and with what little I have accomplished. I am a real writer because I write, not because of how much I’ve published or how much I plan to publish. It is worth telling people about; worth sharing. It is real work, and I am allowed to be proud (within reason) of my efforts. I have no obligation to downplay or hide my accomplishments.

And it takes work. This past year I’ve done a poor job of taking myself seriously and at times that has made me run the risk of completely sabotaging my own dreams. Nothing got done, I barley submitted new work once every couple of months and my production of new work slowed to one or two poems here and there. I picked up the pen plenty- but I didn’t take myself seriously enough to follow through with any of my ideas. Those could wait for a ‘real’ writer, I kept telling myself.

This year I wish to dedicate myself to my work, to take it as seriously as I would my relationships, my health and my education. I will make deadlines, set schedules and refuse to compromise as I would with any other part of my life. I will imbue my work with purpose and fight harder against neglect and complacency. I will allow myself a healthy amount of pride in finished work, and push past the insecurities that keep me from believing that my work is too amateur yet to share. 2015 is going to be my year of redefinition and rededication as a writer. I’m excited to see where that will take me!

In what ways have you failed to take yourself seriously in the past year, and what could you do to fix that in 2015?

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Acquisition Notice: Time of Singing!


Third time’s the charm! My poem ‘Gospel’ will be included in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of Time of Singing– the third time I’ve been published in this magazine of Christian poetry. This particular poem was written about the sometimes-chaos of mass and how to appreciate it, one of my personal recent favorites.

Acquisition Notice: The Wayfarer


My poetry was included in the inaugural issue of The Wayfarer from Homebound Publications, and now the next issue will include ‘The Forest’ and ‘Time in Africa’- both poems were written during my time in Kenya, on a missions trip back in the summer of 2010.

In honor of this, why not refer to my  ‘Why Do I Write’ soon about my poems regarding Africa? I’ll be updating within the next couple days with a ‘Part Two’ of why I write so much about my experiences in Kenya- this time, reflecting more closely to how my near-death experience there left a mark on my poetry.

Pomp and Fanfare: It’s Launch Day!


 

 

Drunk Dialing the Divine is now available from eLectio publishing! Go to electiopublishing.com to pick up your copy for less than $3 ($2.49 to be exact) in ePub, HTML or PDF formats!

 

 

How would you respond when a friend drunk-dials you to make a prayer request? What do you say when you are furious with God, but aren’t willing to part with Him? How do you vent your frustrations to your Creator? When is it okay to be angry with God?

Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the darker side of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending–instead finding a ray of hope in  the maxim “Things are because God is.”

One More Day!: Covers, Part Deux


So after a chat with Jesse, I realized that what I really wanted people to focus on when reading the story wasn’t any kind of drunken messiness. I wanted people to really connect to the attempts at communication, both successful and wildly failed, that are showcased in the collection.

Jesse suggested focusing on the image of a phone cord. This next batch of covers came out of my thinking on that- though these failed in the opposite way that the first ones did. Though pleasing to the eye, they fail to hint at the griminess of some of the anger that is apparent in Drunk Dialing the Divine by glossing it over, which was in fact the kind of attitude that the collection was fighting against. So here again, some fun covers that didn’t make the final cut. (Though as you can tell, I had pretty much decided what kind of a font I was going to use).

 

 

 

Getting to the Final Product: Covers, Round 1!


While we all anxiously await the release of Drunk Dialing the Divine I thought it might be fun to show you guys how we got to the current cover (which is both on my Facebook page and on the publisher’s page).

When I was beginning this process, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do for this cover. Zip, zilch, nada. I was kind of stuck on the idea of being ‘drunk’ while dialing (though, as Jesse pointed out later, that was really detrimental to the actual central theme of the collection which is not, surprise surprise, being drunk).  So here are the covers that I made while still being stuck on the ‘drunk’ theme. As much as I enjoy these covers, I agree wholeheartedly with Jesse that while they cohere with the title of the book, they do not speak to the actual theme of the collection. Still fun to look at, though!

 

 

Release Date: Monday, November 12th!


Good news, everyone! We now have a release date for Drunk Dialing the Divine– Monday, November 12th. The e-book will be available first from the eLectio publishing website, and then made available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book will be $2.49, and will be available as an e-pub file (for readers), an HTML file (to be read right in your browser) or as a PDF (my favorite kind).

 

The blurb on the website for the collection:

How would you respond when a friend drunk-dials you to make a prayer request? What do you say when you are furious with God, but aren’t willing to part with Him? How do you vent your frustrations to your Creator? When is it okay to be angry with God?

    Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the darker side of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending–instead finding a ray of hope in  the maxim “Things are because God is.”

Speed Demons!


Not to piggyback on that last post or anything, but I just got word from my editor, Jesse, this morning that the release date for Drunk Dialing the Divine is being moved up! Which means that the world will soon be exposed to my poetry in little over a week (can you tell I’m an optimistic person?).

While this is extremely exciting, this is also becoming a tad stressful. Things that we had until the end of the month to do initial we now have around-ish seven days. Is it a bit daunting? You bet it is. Can we do it? Heck yes we can. With my can-do attitude and Jesse’s genius you bet this book release is going to be nothing less than sweet and miraculous!

So prepare for a ‘cover reveal’ post as soon as that puppy gets settled on. Normally, I’d have a bit more of a drum-roll set up for this but I’m not complaining! Also, I will be putting together a video reading of ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’ (the poem, not the full collection), to be released at the same time as the e-book online.

I hope I’ll still be worthy of all of your support by the end of this! My thanks goes out to all of the people who have been following my blog since my first publication, to all of the journals and editors who have taken a chance on my art, and the biggest thanks to eLectio publishing and the eLectio family- as well as my flesh-and-blood family, without whom there would be no words for me to write.